Campbell finally receiving his due

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

Pat Campbell didn't get the nod to tend the net in the NLL All-Star Game, but to the Edmonton Rush he's been the brightest star of the season.

And after a 54-save performance against Calgary last Friday which helped the Rush to get their first NLL victory, Campbell became the team's first league award winner yesterday.

The high-spirited goaltender was named the NLL's Defensive Player of the Week for a huge effort that included three assists, three loose balls and Player of the Game honours from SportsNet.

Although defender Cam Bergman will represent Edmonton at the NLL All-Star Game this Saturday in Toronto, Campbell has been the best of the Rush bunch so far this season, with 269 stops in seven games.

"Pat has been an all-star all season for us and it's only now that the league is beginning to see that," said A.J. Jomha, director of lacrosse operations for the Rush.

"The strength of our team this year has been Paddy and he could have been the Player of the Week earlier this season if we'd have won some games," added Rush head coach Paul Day.

Campbell is ranked fifth in the NLL with a .782 save percentage and his goals-against average of 11.72 puts him 11th among the goaltenders. But it's the barrage of quality chances that he's turned away which is garnering praise.

The Niagara Falls, Ont., native made several clutch saves against the Roughnecks and was terrific in the narrow home-turf loss to Toronto a week earlier.

Campbell's stellar play racked up 107 saves over those two games.

It has clearly been a breakout year for the 28-year-old, who was used primarily as a backup in previous stints with Toronto, Rochester and Columbus.

"I thought he needed the opportunity to start because in the past when he'd been given that opportunity, he played very well," said Jomha.

"When Paul and I first talked about goaltending there was no hesitation about who he wanted. I think we knew he could be special but we didn't know he could be this special on a consistent basis.

"And he has become a real leader. He keeps the dressing room really fun and he is always so positive. Even when things aren't going well, he keeps everybody pumped up."

QUICK STICKS: The Rush are expected to announce today two of their game-night promotions for March. Model Brooke Burke, who first gained fame showcasing worldwide hotspots on Wild On and then spent last summer hosting Rockstar: INXS, will be a guest MC for the March 17 game against Calgary. She'll be joined by Rockstar's fourth-place finisher, Toronto singer Suzie McNeill. And on March 25 when Colorado comes to town, the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders will join the Crush dance team on the turf.


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